*On Saturday, October 7, the 8th Annual Radio & Music Industry Legends and Icons picnic was held at Woodley Park in Van Nuys, CA. Over 200 people attended the event, which included record industry executives, singers, disc jockeys and anyone else associated with the music industry.
There was one legend noticeably missing; former KGFJ, KJLH and KACE disc jockey, Alvin John Waples. Failing health prevented Alvin from attending; however, he was there in spirit and we lifted him up in prayer. Sadly, Alvin succumbed to illness on Tuesday, October 10th. He suffered from kidney failure brought on by diabetes.
Alvin, who was born on November 27, 1946 in St. Louis, MO, was the oldest child of Alvin Sr. and Helen Waples. He had three younger siblings; a sister Pat and brothers Merrill and Martin. Alvin attended Drake University. After college, he landed a job at KDIA radio in Oakland, before coming to Los Angeles and KGFJ in 1972, where he became an audience favorite. He subsequently worked at KJLH and KACE radio stations. He left Los Angeles and became a disc jockey on MAJIC 102.3 in Washington DC until 2010.
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On a more personal note, I remember Alvin fondly. As a teenager, I stayed glued to the radio; KGFJ was one of my stations of choice and Alvin John Waples was my guy. I listened faithfully to “Helen Waples baby boy” as he used to refer to himself. I would call and speak with him on the phone and eventually we met in person and developed a brother/sister type friendship. Although just a kid, Alvin let me hang out with him. A 13 year old had no business at Rudy’s Italian Restaurant on a Wednesday evening, but there I was, every Wednesday, hanging with Alvin and whatever celebrity he had joining him that week. Alvin made sure I got home safely.
It was thanks to Alvin that I had the opportunity to meet the Jacksons. He was the announcer for their summer TV show in 1976/1977 and got me tickets to watch them rehearse and tape their show. I also was a spectator at the Jacksons celebrity charity basketball games, of which Alvin was a Jackson team member. I spent time with his family, his then wife, Phyllis and his daughter Rachael and son, actor Wesley Jonathan, a baby back then. His family welcomed me into the fold.
Alvin will truly be missed by all who loved and admired him. Rest in paradise, Legend and Icon.
Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles Based writer/reviewer. Contact her via [email protected].